The early set of Week 5 games were very kind to me, with seven correct picks. The back half was rough, featuring Oakland and NYJ upsetting San Diego and Atlanta, respectively, in prime time. Who saw that coming? A record of 8-6 shoots me up the leader board to 49 out of 100. Progress!
Like the Texans, it's going to take me putting two halves together to get back in this race, and considering our track records (I goofed and chose Seattle on the league page after picking Indy to win here), who's more likely to do that?
Let's take a look at the Heroes atop Battle Red Blog's Unofficial Pick 'Em League:
|Rank||Pick Set Name||Total||Dropped||W-L|
A three-way tie for first place unseats long time leader STEELBLUE thanks to tie-breakers. Now that he's not in first place, I can cheer for him to regain his crown against usurper XRoadie. Death to the usurper. Who can't wait for Game of Thrones to come back on TV? Or how about the next book in the series? Hurry, please, Martin.
I digress; onward to the picks! As always, the spread for each game is included for convenience but I'm picking straight up.
New York Giants @ Chicago Bears (-7.5)
The New York Giants are a very surprising 0-5 right now. They have to win eventually, right? Perhaps, but I don't think it's coming at the expense of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. New York sports the worst turnover ratio in the NFL at -13 and they're facing a team known for exacerbating such a problem. Winner: Bears
Cincinnati Bengals @ Buffalo Bills (+7)
Sandwiched between two impressive victories over Green Bay and New England, the Bengals dropped a stinker against rival Cleveland in what was likely a trap game. It happens. The Bengals have certainly convinced me they're contenders. Winner: Bengals
Detroit Lions @ Cleveland Browns (+2.5)
The difference between Brian Hoyer and Brandon Weeden under center was pretty staggering through the first five weeks, though Weeden played nicely last week in relief of Hoyer. Norv Turner has certainly helped revive a Cleveland offense that has long been dying. Meanwhile that defense has been stout ranking 7th in yards and 9th in points allowed.
Conversely, Detroit sports the 7th best offense in terms of yards and is 10th in points scored. With Calvin Johnson practicing again, I'll give them the edge if only to make my girlfriend happy. Can I have my Xbox back now, please? Winner: Lions
Oakland is a lot of fun to watch with Terrelle Pryor running around. They are simply overmatched against an undefeated Kansas City team in one of the loudest stadiums in the country. Winner: Chiefs
Carolina Panthers @ Minnesota Vikings (-2.5)
Cam Newton should put up some gaudy stats against a velvety soft Minnesota defense. I underestimated Adrian Peterson's value against an old Pittsburgh defense earlier this season, but Carolina's defense is third in yardage and third in points allowed (14.6). This is a good setup for a road upset. Winner: Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers @ New York Jets (-2.5)
Even the New York Jets have made me jealous of their quarterback situation. Geno Smith is taking his lumps as a rookie, but he seems to be growing into the role each week. If the Jets can continue pounding the rock against Pittsburgh's 25th ranked run defense, it'll keep Geno Smith in a very manageable game. Winner: Jets
I'm not trusting Philadelphia's porous defense on the road even if it's against a rookie quarterback like Mike Glennon. Doug Martin is on pace for around 400 carries this season and should have plenty of opportunities to gash that defense. Winner Buccaneers
Green Bay Packers @ Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)
After a nice bounce-back game against the Dolphins (he threw five interceptions against the Bills two weeks ago), Joe Flacco gets to face a struggling Green Bay pass defense that is now without its primary pass rusher in Clay Matthews. Meanwhile Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata and Elvis Dumervil continue to gobble up offensive lines with 19 sacks, good for 2nd in the league. With Aaron Rodgers, it's hard to count out the Packers, but they're very beatable this year. Winner: Ravens
St. Louis Rams @ Houston Texans (-7.5)
What a generous spread for the Texans! The Rams certainly aren't as tough as their fellow NFC West members and should provide Matt Schaub and the Texans an opportunity to regain some confidence. I'm not going to analyze this much in fear of changing my mind. Winner: Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Denver Broncos (-27)
That spread would be disrespectful if it were any other team. Chad Henne is back at starter (again) after another injury to Blaine Gabbert. That should make the score slightly closer than that ridiculous spread. Winner: Broncos
Tennessee Titans @ Seattle Seahawks (-13.5)
Andrew Luck stared into mouth of Seattle's talented secondary and didn't flinch. In fact, he shoved a football down its throat as he matched Russell Wilson score for score. The Titans won't be able to replicate this. Winner: Seahawks
New Orleans Saints @ New England Patriots (-2.5)
These are the matchups you live for as an NFL fan. The undefeated Saints take on the stalwart Patriots in Foxboro. Will Rob Gronkowski make his 2013 debut? Can Drew Brees keep up his high-flying attack without the comforts of the climate-controlled Superdome?
As good as New Orleans has been offensively, they've been very pass-heavy (4th in passing, 26th in rushing), and that's the sort of imbalance that Bill Belichick can exploit... especially at home. Winner: Patriots
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-11)
Even if Colin Kaepernick continues to struggle, that San Francisco defense and power running game should be more than enough to contend with the Arizona Cardinals. Winner: 49ers
Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)
Tony Romo nearly shocked the world against Denver Mannings. He gets way too much hate after being the sole reason his team was in that game at all. The Redskins are coming off a bye but Robert Griffin III can't seem to replicate the rookie magic he enjoyed last year.
If the Cowboys can replicate even half of their performance against the Broncos, they should be able to overmatch the Redskins. Winner: Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts @ San Diego Chargers (-1.5)
I hate the Colts. Winner: Colts
Survival League Pick: Chicago Bears
Against the hapless Giants this seems like a clear choice for me since I no longer have Denver or Seattle. I'm very nervous about some crazy prime time upset as Eli Manning returns to form. Hoepfully, I can survive this week with New Orleans, New England, Houston and Kansas City still available to me later on.
Do svidanya to those who hitched their wagon on Atlanta and San Diego... really, not too many people saw that coming. This leaves just 19 of us through Week 5. Keep it up!